Friday, August 26, 2016

Give Students Time to Revise & Edit

RE-PRINT: Mazenglish, 2012

Teaching Honors Freshman English as well as AP Language and Composition, I focus a great deal on in-class writing with my students.  The in-class essay is only one form of writing, but it is a significant one these days.  With the rising concerns about plagiarism - even in the era of - and the increased focus on AP classes, the ability to write in a timed setting is an important skill for students.  It certainly offers a truly authentic sample of a students ability to translate thoughts into writing.  However, the task of revision is every bit as important.  So, on some assignments I give my students a bit of a perk - and extended time.  Occasionally, I will start them on an in-class assignment, and then hand it back for a second day of revision.  Sometimes I tell them they will have two days, and on others I surprise them.  However, in between days I collect their work, so they aren't actually doing any work at home.  Today, however, I sprung a different format on the kids.  My freshman are writing final essays on Antigone today, and about halfway through class, I stopped them and offered fifteen minutes for peer editing.  They are also allowed to take the essay home and finish it.  However, it must be handwritten and I need to see both copies and any revisions.  The class was thrilled - for sometimes, they say, they just need a little guidance and feedback during the writing.  A quick tweak of the topic sentence or some advice on a helpful quote might be just the sort of editing a kid needs to get over that hump.

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